I have a thirst for learning all I can about food and wine and enjoy trying surprising combinations. I think I may have found a book that can help achieve that perfect pairing that I as well as many others seek. Taste Buds and Molecules: The Art of Food, Wine, and Flavor by Francois Chartier brings me all that much closer. I discovered this book one day reading Food and Wine and finding an article by Ray Isle, "Getting Pairing Down to a Science". This article brought some new ideas to me that I had a craving to learn more. So off to Amazon.com I went and ordered Francois Chartier's book and had to patiently wait for it to be delivered.
When I opened that highly expected box from Amazon I couldn't wait get reading. Keep in mind this book is not a recipe book, though there are recipes and it's not a simple wine pairing book. It goes into a scientific detail that can make your head spin as you try to wrap your brain around different flavor molecules that are in varieties of food and wine. But it's something not to give up on. If you are serious about food this book is something for you. It's not just for food and wine pairing it works for finding food and food combinations. Taste Buds and Molecules has something for everyone that enjoys food.
Several short chapters into the book I find the first wine Sauvignon Blanc. The chapter is titled Mint and Sauvignon Blanc, An Open Door Into the World of Anise-Flavored Foods and Wines. The title intrigued me and so I read on and discovered that foods with volatile compounds and aromas of anise would pair nicely with Sauvignon Blanc, Verdejo, and Albarino's. Did you know mint, dill, yellow beets, and celery all have an anise flavor? Those are just a few with that flavor molecule the list goes on.
That wasn't the end of testing out other food and wine pairings with the anise compound. Next was Verdejo and mussels with chorizo. We discovered the 2011 Rey Santo Verdejo at a local wine bar and when we tasted it we knew we wanted mussels to go with it. Little did I know then I was going to put the two to a more scientific taste test.
Were either of these the perfect pairing I referred to earlier? To some yes, to some no. For me I have to say no, only because if this is perfection I have no reason to continue my search. There are so many variables to each dish, not all wines taste the same with the same food. Each wine has its own characteristics that may stand out or be hidden by the dish you are eating. With that knowledge the search continues.
Read the same article from Food & Wine that inspired me
Getting Pairing Down to a Science by Ray Isle
Learn more about Francois Chartier by visiting his web site